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Lafayette County School District extends closure through March 27; providing meals for students

School districts across the country are in uncharted waters, and Oxford and Lafayette School Districts are no different.

During an emergency meeting on Wednesday, the Lafayette County School District’s Board of Trustees voted to extend the closure of all their schools until March 27 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Any decisions on extending the closure any further will come on a week-to-week basis until the state provides further guidance, the district determined.

Lafayette County Schools had been closed through March 20, which required a decision to be made regarding next week. Superintendent Dr. Adam Pugh had the authority to make the decision himself, but as he told his Board on Wednesday, he wanted to discuss it with them and allow a vote.

“We’re looking at this thing in areas we’ve never been before,” Pugh said. “There have been many, many ideas thrown around about what are we going to do, and the bottom line is, we’re going to come up with a plan that may change. But that plan is going to be what we think is going to meet the needs of our kids right now.”

The Board also discussed what distance learning will look like for their students and teachers. The current plan is to begin distance learning on March 23 and the district will begin coordinating and communicating with all their teachers this week.

Pugh noted the school district had accommodated long-distance learning for individual students who have had medical issues arise or other circumstances, but never for the entire district for an unknown amount of time.

“This is brand-new,” Pugh said. “This is my 30th year, and I’ve never done anything like this.”

With the Mississippi Department of Education getting a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture earlier this week, Lafayette’s school district will begin offering meals to students at nine locations, beginning on March 19 from 9 to 11 a.m.

The meals will only be available for children 18 years of age and younger.

The nine locations are throughout Lafayette County and are listed below:

  • Abbeville Baptist Church
  • Harmontown Fire Department
  • Paris Fire Department
  • Denmark Store
  • Taylor Grocery Parking Lot
  • Anchor Baptist Church
  • New Prospect Baptist Church in Yocona
  • Lafayette High School parking lot

Lafayette students are still allowed to pick up a meal at the six locations the Oxford School District is providing for them, and adults can purchase a meal at those sites for $2.

“It was big, because we didn’t (get a waiver) last year because we’re so rural, and we didn’t know how many kids would come in,” Pugh said. “We’ve never been able to get the waiver, and we start tomorrow and hopefully we’re going to have many of our kids take advantage. Again, that may change. Our sites may change. Again, it’s ever-evolving how we’re going to do this.”

Prom season is also coming up, and Lafayette’s was scheduled for March 28. However, the district announced on Tuesday it had been rescheduled for a tentative date of May 2. The new date could also change, depending on the ever-changing situation with COVID-19.